SEPTIC ARTHRITIS
SERUM SICKNESS
bacterial
toxins
are present in
the
blood. (See also
bacteraemia
.)
Septicaemia usually arises through es-
cape of bacteria from a focus of infection,
such as an
abscess
, and is more likely to
occur in people with an
immunodefici-
ency disorder
,
cancer
,
or
diabetes mellitus
;
in those who take
immunosuppressant
drugs
; and in drug addicts who inject.
Symptoms include a fever, chills, rapid
breathing, headache, and clouding of
consciousness. The sufferer may go into
life-threatening
septic shock
.
Glucose and/or saline are given by
intravenous
infusion
,
and
antibiotics
by injection or infusion. Surgery may be
necessary to remove the original infec-
tion. If treatment is given before septic
shock develops, the outlook is good.
septic
arthritis
A type
of
arthritis
caused by a bacterial infection entering
a joint via an open wound. Symptoms
of septic arthritis appear suddenly and
may include swelling, tenderness, and
fever. If pus builds up, the joint may be
permanently damaged.
Fluid is taken from the joint and is
analysed to determine the presence of
infection (see
aspiration
), and pus may
be drained to help relieve pain. Initially,
treatment is with intravenous
antibiotic
drugs
, followed by oral antibiotics for
several weeks or months after that.
septic shock
A life-threatening condi-
tion in which there is tissue damage
and a dramatic drop in blood pressure
as a result of
septicaemia
.
septum
A thin dividing wall within or
between parts of the body.
sequela
A condition that results from or
follows a disease, disorder, or injury. The
term is usually used in plural (sequelae)
to refer to the complications of a disease.
sequestration
A portion of diseased or
dead tissue separated from, or joined ab-
normally to, surrounding healthy tissue.
serology
A branch of laboratory medicine
concerned with analysis of blood
serum
.
Applications of serological techniques
include the diagnosis of infectious dis-
eases by the identification of
antibodies
,
the development of
antiserum
prepara-
tions for passive
immunization
, and the
determination of
blood groups
in
pater-
nity testing
and forensic investigations.
serotonin
A substance found in many
tissues, particularly blood platelets, the
digestive tract lining, and the brain. Sero-
tonin is released from platelets at the
site of bleeding, where it constricts small
blood vessels, reducing blood loss. In
the digestive tract, it inhibits gastric
secretion and stimulates smooth mus-
cle of the intestine. In the brain, where
it acts as a
neurotransmitter
, levels are
reduced in people who are depressed;
certain
antidepressants
raise the level.
Serotonin agonists
are used to block its
effects in acute migraine attacks.
serotonin agonists
A group of drugs,
also known as
5
HT
1
agonists, used to
treat acute attacks of
migraine
.
They
work on the same receptors in the brain
as 5 hydroxytryptamine (5HT), a
neuro-
transmitter
and
vasodilator
. Common
serotonin agonists include
naratriptan
and
sumatriptan
. These drugs can cause
chest pain, particularly in people with
heart disease. They should be used with
caution in those at increased risk of cor-
onary artery disease. Other side effects
include flushing, tingling, and nausea.
serotonin antagonists
A group of drugs
used to treat the nausea and vomiting
caused by
radiotherapy
and
anticancer
drugs
. They are also used to control
nausea and vomiting following surgery.
Common serotonin antagonists include
granisetron and
ondansetron
.
sertraline
A
selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitor
drug used in the treatment of
depression (see
antidepressants
).
serum
The clear fluid that separates from
blood
when it clots. It contains salts, glu-
cose, and proteins, including
antibodies
.
Serum from the blood of a person who
has been infected with a microorganism
usually contains antibodies that can pro-
tect other people from that organism if
injected into them. Such a preparation
is called an
antiserum
; its use forms the
basis of passive
immunization
.
serum sickness
A type of
hypersensi-
tivity
reaction that may develop about
10 days after injection with an
anti-
serum
of animal origin or after taking
certain drugs such as
penicillins
. Symp-
toms may include an itchy rash, joint
pain, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes.
In severe cases, a state similar to
shock
S
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